Unknown Future Time

We all must have experiences like this. Those were my words, or what I remember them to be, hours later, at my desk, when I want to believe that I have some mental distance from the experience in that other room, where I spend a few hours a week, fifty minutes at a time, to the minute, both at the beginning and at the end. The experience that I spoke about today, while he listened in silence behind me, was a memory that probably happened forty-four or forty-five years ago. What I just wrote is telling. The experience I’ve referred to now twice in these sentences wasn’t my own. My grandfather, now dead for twenty-four years, filmed it, back when no one had hand-held cameras. He was a maverick in his own way. We were in the countryside, I was there that evening, just before sunset, it must have been a beautiful summer day in the Pacific Northwest, some ninety miles northeast of Seattle, alongside a river, and surrounded by mountains. Maybe I was already in bed when my grandfather stood atop a small hill beyond the cabin that my father and his parents had built, and with his filming camera, saved for an unknown future evening images of calmness, of a river, of a mountain peak, all of which, forty-four or forty-five years later, watching these fleeting images on a television screen, remind me of silence. My father’s parents sold that cabin alongside the river some seven years later, after successive floods had robbed the land of its beauty. I think I said much of this in today’s session, on the couch, trusting in the process, trying to say whatever came to me in the moment. I want to spend more time with my grandfather’s images, our images, of all of us who were there that summer night. Time refuses to stop. Perhaps time doesn’t know what stopping means. Time comes before words, before meaning. Time and space have taken me back in time, forty-four or forty-five years ago, to a calm evening when my future, much of which is now part of the past, was unknown.

 

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